Writing this series has me on quite a journey. We've talked about so many of the elements that go into making a truly incredible chicken soup: the fat, the feet, the organs, the age... and most importantly the blood. I hope you've learned as much as me, so with no further ado enjoy the recipe!
Heritage Chicken Soup
Prep time: 1-2 hours
Cook time: 8- 10 hours
1 whole 4-6 lb heritage stewing chicken including the feet, gizzard, heart and neck - (if you source smaller 2-3 pound hens than you can use 2 birds)
2-4 tablespoons schmaltz (add more or less shmaltz depending on how fat your chicken is)
1 big bag of fresh or frozen vegetable scraps - such as onion skins & ends, carrot peels, celery leaves & buts, leek tops etc..
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 medium yellow onions - quartered
1 head of garlic - 1/2 peeled and the other half minced
3/4 pound carrots - roughly chopped into large pieces
3/4 pound celery - roughly chopped into large pieces
3/4 pound cauliflower - roughly chopped (optional, adds thickness to the soup)
1 1/2 pound russet potatoes -peeled and halved or quartered
3/4 pound parsnip or celery root - peeled and roughly chopped into large pieces
1 head of fresh parsley - minced
1 pinch of dried thyme
Your choice of fresh herbs, I personally enjoy thyme or dill (optional)
A few cups of fully cooked noodles or rice (optional)
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste (optional)
Act I - Deconstruction
Quick and Dirty Version - If you're strapped for time, put all the ingredients except frozen veggie scraps and fresh herbs in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling simmer and immediately turn down heat to very low. Let the soup barely simmer for 8-10 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone. These older birds have very tough muscle tissue so the 2-3 hour cook time you're used to with younger birds just wont do here. When the soup is finished cooking turn off the heat and if using add fresh herbs & salt and pepper. If you're feeling adventurous you can keep the feet in the soup and your guests can peel the skin off and suck the tasty and nutritious gelatin and marrow from inside. But most of you will probably want to remove and discard the feet at this point. Either serve meat bone in (this is my favorite method) or separate from the bone and shred before putting it back in the pot. If adding rice or noodles put those in when serving.
Act II - Stock
Act III - The Meat of the Matter
Act IV - The Finish
Once the Soup is finished cooking, turn off the heat and add in your parsley and fresh herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with noodles or rice if you like. Most people prefer to remove the feet but I leave them in. After some time I have actually come to like the look they add to soup. It has been a long road with lots of learning and exploration to get us here. I hope you've learned much about all that goes into making a truly delicious and ethical chicken soup. It might take more time, but if you follow my steps, I promise that you'll be rewarded with the best chicken soup ever; thick, yellow and bursting with a flavor you can only imagine... that is until you've tried it for yourself.
About the blog:
Welcome to The Kosher Omnivore's Quest! My old blog on kosher slaughter, kosher meat, and animal welfare. For new content check out my new website, The Kosher Cut™. There you'll find: blog posts about shechita and related topics, educational slaughter presentations, kosher slaughter training, and a selection of high quality professional kosher slaughter equipment.